‘The pill mill of America’: where drugs mean there are no good choices, only less awful ones
For six days in Portsmouth, Ohio, I keep trying to fool myself. Eventually, I am unable to just watch and listen
Portsmouth, Ohio, once known for making things (steel, shoes, bricks), is now known for drugs, and labeled by some as the pill mill of America. The city peaked at 40,000 people in 1940, and as it emptied of factories and jobs some made obsolete, some moved away it also emptied of people and hope.
Now it is a town half the size, filled with despair and filling withdrugs.
On my first night in town, a beat-up car parks next to me, positioned in the darkness cast by my van. The passenger, a middle-aged woman, injects the driver in the neck. He stays still, head tilted to expose a vein, as she works the needle in, while two young boys play in the back seat.
Done, they pull away as I try to fool myself into thinking I didnt see what I saw.
For six days in Portsmouth, over three trips, I keep trying to fool myself. Eventually, I am unable to just watch and listen.